Advent 2 2021

The Second Sunday in Advent
December 5, 2021 A+D
Romans 15:4-13


In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The figs are hanging on the tree. But not everyone is happy.

There is no neutral expectation. If you expect something, you either expect that it will be good or that it will be bad, and therefore you either hope or you fear. Sitting down in a chair without first testing it is an act of hope based on the expectation that it will work out for the good. Testing the chair first, before you sit, is an act of fear. It is driven by fear that something bad will happen.

Nothing in this world is guaranteed or endures forever. All chairs known to man will fail. We know that. Yet we still, mostly, act in hope. If we sit without first testing the chair because we trust in God’s mercy and believe that He is good so that it doesn’t really matter to us if the chair fails or not, then we do so as an act of faith. We are like the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. But if we sit without first testing because we trust in wood and steel and the ingenuity of men, and think that it will last forever, then we are the most foolish of men.

We should repent. We have done both. Sometimes we have been wise and acted in accordance with God’s promises. Other times we have acted without a thought to God at all and been foolish. We have sat down in chairs with absolute confidence in man. And sometimes we’ve done both at the same time. So we should repent and we should also learn to rejoice in the figs and the broken chairs and even in our aches and pains. We are people of godly hope. Our confidence is in Christ. These are signs of the end.

The world does not have this hope. Instead, despite various platitudes and posturing, the world is afraid. We see this in its frantic efforts to calm itself by chasing after science and medicine, to hide itself in pleasure and in self-righteousness. The world is in distress. It is filled with anxiety. Look at the headlines and tell me I am wrong. Their hearts are failing them in fearful expectation of what is coming. “The ice caps are melting. The virus is mutating. The whales are dying.”

They aren’t completely wrong. And they are right to be afraid. While it may not happen the way they think, one way or another, this world will end. And if they do not repent then they will be banished to the place prepared for Satan and his angels.

But not us. We love figs. We love the harvest even though it leaves the fields devastated. Broken chairs and disappearing pandas and high blood pressure only mean that the end is now closer than it was before and we are filled with hope. We expect something most good. For we know that even as the death of Jesus Christ is the life of the world, so this decaying earth, our dying bodies, and even the very destruction of the universe is our deliverance.

Nothing here endures or can be trusted, not chairs made of wood and steel, not good men elected by a fair process, not competent doctors and nurses with the best of intentions and deep knowledge. Only the Word of God endures forever. We lift up our heads. Christ, Our Redemption, draws near. To Hell with the chairs. Who needs them? We don’t belong here. Jesus is coming for us and we gladly go with Him.

Thus does the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing and cause us to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is not wishful thinking. It is trust in God’s Word. Scripture was written for our learning. It was also written so that through its patience and comfort we would have hope. Godly hope is discontent in this broken world, angry at injustices and wickedness, ready to leave the chairs behind, and yet, at the same time, hope rebels against despair. Christ is risen! All is not lost. In fact, in terms of what matters and endures, everything has been gained. Hope therefore has courage to look to the future. It rejoices in the expectation of Divine justice tempered by steadfast mercy. Hope energizes the faithful in the midst of civilization’s destruction so that they found schools, plant trees, and produce art. Hope loves figs and Christmas for even in sadness and uncertainty about the immediate future, it has all joy and peace in believing. Our Redemption draws near.

In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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